tv [untitled] CSPAN June 8, 2009 11:30am-12:00pm EDT
push in order to deliver outcomes. i think that is probably the least appreciated feature of this presidency. i also think going back to something i mentioned initially, a lot of this depends on these little interactions that add up so much overtime. the president has, so far, demonstrated his willingness to back off immediately off of policies that democrats do not like. for instance, in his budget he proposed limiting the charitable deductions that willie taxpayers -- wealthy taxpayers can contribute. he took that off the table almost right away. president bush or clinton never did anything like that. it throws congress off it's a
game, you know? -- off it's game, you know? they're used to relationship dynamic that is just not there right now. we sort of struggle to get our head around what exactly is unfolding. a lot of this is not recognizing what we are seeing. baughma>> the argument has beene that the president has arguments to be made. this president has passed major legislation on the hill, but for the most part in those instances, he was differential to congress. congress for the legislation. it was not to get people together in the white house. he basically deferred to them.
it was said in the early 1990's that the president's job is to tame the beast. the public thinks of the congress as a beastly. -- as beastly. to the fear barack obama? --do they fear barack obama? >> i think this is a case of about off protest too much. -- of thou dost protest too much. it is almost like is delegating the hard work out their. he did not do that because congress has some great power. he did it because he does that is the way to get passed quickly. the hill would pick it over for months and there was not being -- and there would not be a stimulus bill.
everyone thinks of it as his bill, let those guys fill in the details. >> will he do that for health care? >> it to a degree, he will have to because he wants to get it passed, but it will be his bill in the end. he is someone who does not have to have every dotted i and crossed party -- crossed t. he wants something that will be his bill. >> adding he is a student of the presidency and as an offer from inside his administration what went wrong with health care back in the clinton administration. it is that it was all engineered by a secret task force at the white house. the only people allowed in that room from congress or the legislative councils to draft the legislation. -- from congress weren't the
legislative councils. working closely with winehouse staff and the secretary of health and human services, i think he is consciously going about it anyway of letting congress work with the details, but the general guidelines that he has in mind are in place. >> any questions or comments among the panelists here? go ahead. >> i was saying no. >> use and one thing that really struck me. that the president is getting grounded down over time brings up the whole discussion among the press and blogs as to whether he is overexposed. he is out there every day. what if the american public just some basis they're getting tired of him and they do not like him
as much as they used to. they're in big trouble if that happens because they are using him to sell everything. >> let me add on to that point. i think the obama white house is aware and of the and change -- is aware of the change in the environment. it is not the same army we had during the 60's and 70's. -- it is not the same environments we had during the 1960's and the 1970's. there is not an establishment of the presidency in this country. the whole idea of the rhetorical presidency was that the big speech, and this happened until reagan, the defense to the passage of is a legislation. -- that you could affect the passage of legislation. you talk about going to the restroom and twittering.
with all kinds of gadgets carrying around, but i mean it is just that way. the country has a lot of people here who are going to get distracted into their own cubbyholes. but the that's one reason why the obama administration is taking on so much so early pre did have an intuitive understanding that people's attention is going to scatter. i think he is enormously capable. this is one respect in which he is different than george w. bush. he was ok. when he was given a written speech and he could give it, he had some gifted speech writers. in the day-to-day argument of public policy, he was just not very good. i just hate to say that, but that is not where he excelled. obama is good at all of this.
what was the story he told senator reid, that he has the gift. he has the gift of persuasion. he can talk his way into and out of anything, i suppose. that could become, at some point, to be seen at glib -- as glib. when he starts to call a certain things shameful like the bonuses. ok, maybe they are, but we -- but we want him to keep saying that? i think it is interesting to see how it is going to play out over time. overall, we need to see the effects of his policies. and we're looking at up to 10% inflation, a stagnant economy, that is not going to be a very good recommendation for the democrats in the midterms or next time around. >> terry, you raised a question
and not sure if you answered it and it was over whether or not bush and cheney overplay their hands. >> well, i was making no of the criticism of others -- i was making note of the criticism of others that with the pursuit and enhancement of executive power, they seemed so preoccupied with that and they did it in a certain way that it was prudent to that it backfired. it was restrained by the network of laws and court decisions that came about on those issues. i think that, i like chip's notion of the stealth president here. i quoted a couple of examples to illustrate how obama has
reserved judgment on certain questions. i do not the kiss foreclosed the notion of authorizing one of these terret -- interrogation techniques. the circumstance may arise about urgent necessity, that is what they get rid it happen. >> i wanted to make an observation about the bush presidency. it is often portrayed, bush and cheney both, overplaying their hand on the national security front, but from the perspective of congress they were basically invisible. an argument could be made that they were almost irresponsibly hands off in terms of how they managed congress and interacted with them to the extent that it really damaged the republican party. there was no -- all bush had to do is veto spending bill now and
again and it could have realign the conservatives, and powered them, given the republican party something forceful to stand in favor of -- empowered them. they have nothing to point to as real achievements that republicans could rally around. i think that president bush ultimately is the person who is responsible for that because you are essentially the leader of the park. right now, barack obama is the leader of the democratic party and he is leading those troops off into the wilderness. we're not sure what is going to look like, but president bush, for all of the attention and authority exercised on national security, i think he was coming up short on the domestic side. >> just one point about bush, if i may. i think his presidency dramatically changed after 9/11.
in fact, it almost had we seemed we almost had a gas in august. we had all expected a domestic president see, not -- a domestic presidency, not a foreign policy presidency. that was not foreseen when he was elected. bill clinton complained, if you remember, that he did not have an opportunity for greatness because the circumstances were not the right kind during his presidency. it was not even for him to take a vintage of that to become great. -- it was not eventful for him to take advantage of that to become great. had he done something out important for the country and having been a good president, i think it is going to be in his decision to go forward with the surge in iraq. that was a lonely decision.
no one was excited about it. lots of people around him were not cited. on the few members of his staff were much for him. -- lots of people around him were not excited. the only presidential decision which showed a firmness, even though that is one of those qualities of what the president is about, when bush showed it in that instance coming to a decision about that in carrying forward with that, we still need to a value of the results natchez now but five, 10, 15 years from now. that is the kind of decision that is not going to affect party building that much. it is not the kind of thing if you go out and talk that much in an environment that we have. i do think that he gets that to his credit. when the bush presidency is studied, that is certainly going to be something to be looked at. >> unless the panelists have
questions or comments to what to erect at one another, we're opening it to the floor. we have a microphone you can get from john as needed. are there any questions? mr. frankie? >> my question is kind of about a factor in government that i think we have skirted around besides the judiciary that we have maligned for reasons. i would talk about what is labeled as the for the state -- as the fourth estate. does the media played an active role in that development? >> they journalists want to answer that?
-- do the journalists went to answer that? >> i think we touched on this a while ago. the fact that the president is one person and can do one dramatic thing a day or so, that is automatically causing us to gravitate towards him. congress is lots of things all the long that could dramatically alter life for millions of americans, and yet i would venture to say that very few people are even aware that it exists or know how it could affect their lives. whose fault is this? i do not know. twitter has an audience and sodas cable news and so does reality tv. my industry is the one that is dying.
i think that the information is out there and that if you want to be aware of all of these different actions that are taking place, the full picture as opposed to just the obama picture, it is available, but it is harder to get to because it is more time-consuming. it adds up to a lot and it is ultimately what determines elections. that is what what -- that is what people ultimately carry about -- all to the care about. i do not know how to bring it and to balance. -- bring it into balance. >> republicans are getting hard and working now were to oppose him. it is up to the media. it is r.r. -- it is our job to hold his feet to the fire, but it has been rehired -- but it has hard because the avoid
missteps. it really is a lengthy list of decisions that he has made that has irritated the aclu and libertarian groups on issues of national security. even with those, he plays them so well and knows the american people are with him. i know that after the last press conference, i told a colleague that we would get under his skin sometimes but it is like pitching batting practice to mark mcgwire on steroids. he is hitting everything we throw at him. he has been good up to this point. as terry has been saying, he is just a very talented communicator. i do not think we're going to be tripping and stuff -- to bring him up on that. if a year from now inflation is up and unemployment is at 10% and does not appear that the stimulus money is doing much,
scandals over the stimulus money, then we are going to be flopping around like pigs in lead -- pigs in mud. my wife is going to change the locks on the house of time during the hard-hitting reports. [laughter] >> that raises the question. some suggested that there is an unlevel playing field, or there was between mccain and obama. the media was pro-obama it continues to be secreted you think it is part of the problem? i was not referring to the -- "the weekly standard." >> i would just say that i have published in a journal for "forbes." going back to 1936 and every
presidential election since them through 1996, all of these surveys that had been done of journalists in terms of voting preferences or political issues of where we stand had revealed the same bottom line which is to say journalists, and these are journalists at the highest level those that cover national politics, they would fall in the democratic liberal side by a wide margin, even huge margins. i do not think that has changed any. i think if we get data on the selection, we will see it lopsidedly democratic. just because we're democratic does not mean we can either refer job as journalists.
where people are coming from, it is going to be on that side. among that group of journalists, again the media field is just more complicated now. it is less possible. we really do not have come in my view, and established media -- an established media anymore now than we did then. we can go through the tet offensive. there is one other thing that is important to understand. the media tends to be biased in favor of intelligence. they tend to be biased in favor of verbal skills. obama is a very intelligent man. anyone can see that. he's got the gift. he has a verbal skills. i think one of bush's disadvantages is that his
intelligence did not manifest itself in perfectly constructed sentences with nice qualifiers here and there. he seemed to come, where i come from which is texas, he seemed to be a little more blunt or maybe just not that smart, some would say. i do not think that plays well with the media. there is that bias. there is a tendency in favor of liking another smart person, another intelligent person. obama has that and that will carry him for a good while in terms of that kind of media coverage. >> not follow up on that. i mentioned the extent to which the media does reinforce his presidency. it as some have pointed out, when things do turn sour, the media can be just as good in jumping all over a president who has a failure of some kind in the administration. i think the obama administration
realizes this is i read an article just a little while ago to see how they're revolutionizing the communication shop in the white house with more on nine films of the president, speeches, he is the first president to do the saturday radio address on -- as a production. we understand that we're going to have to get our message across without immediate shelter at times. whether or not it was a seed, i do not know. -- whether or not it will succeed, i do not know. i think the first outing was not that successful with trying to have people write to the members of congress for the president's budget. whether or $17 million in cuts
from existing programs, i think congress started hearing from people about that. congress was hearing, and they tend to hear only from people when they're complaining, not when they are unnecessarily -- not when they're necessarily in favor of something. he is still very much in favor with the the people. some of the specific policies are already running into difficulties. >> can i just say as someone who has spent an enormous amount of time with this president, president obama does not like the media. he does not interact with us. i spent hundreds of hours on an airplane with him. he came back to talk to the press maybe once every two weeks, at most. i'm sure you do not see much of him in the white house. john mccain, on the other hand, los reporters and spent hours and investing in those relationships. --loves reporters.
john mccain woodwind the personality contest by a million miles -- would win the personality contest by a million miles. whatever perceived bias there is, it is not based on relationships are based on obama cultivating it, because he has done the opposite. >> these were surveys takinen on journalists and their personal voting preference. in 2000, mccain was well liked in terms of the media. he is that kind of guy. he will talk to for a long time. we did he will talk to you for a long time. it probably worked in his advantage, but he did not denomination. >> if you look at mccain and obama, she is right. obama does not talk to as a whole lot, but became did. it is a real double edged sword for mccain freewheel like him as a person and he was great to talk to, but he put his foot in
his mouth. -- it is a real double edged sword for mccain, as we like him as a person. he lost his unique character and he was just another bottled up politician by the end. >> questions from the audience? >> i think you sort of touched on this already. what you think the role of the outspoken dick cheney is it now. is at the beginning of the pendulum turning the other way towards a more empirical congress perhaps? >> a more whites? >> >a more w -- a more what? >> a more empirical congress.
>> he is making the argument for the need of the president -- go ahead. >> since we have gotten to this stage with the release of olc memos there's been a discussion about the kind of legal approval that might have been given, that was given, for these enhanced interrogation techniques, including waterboarding. i think what he wants to do is to get the evidence out. he is saying that he knows there is evidence. there is evidence that spells out the impact and the effects. he wants to show what energy the executive did to put in terms
-- did for the public. apparently the reason, the only reason, that the documents were not released is that they're involved in current cases. they're not going to be released right now. maybe they will be released later ron later on. -- later on. they would get the job of looking at these memos, those, and everything under the sun including all the evidence as to how those techniques worked that have yet to be revealed. i think that is what he is going for pretty ones to get all that and the debate and be able to count all the relevant to affirmation.
>> i think he wants the administration and its decisions vindicated. i do not think that is going to happen. i do not think the public opinion is going to change on this subject, or dick cheney come any time in the near future. certainly the republic is i've talked to this week would rather see just about any other face on their television. -- certainly the republicans i did talk to this week would rather see just about any other face on their television. the party is looking for a face and dick cheney is certainly a lightning rod who galvanizes the core of the republican base, but that is not exactly a growth interest -- a ground instrument for the republican party. democrats are delighted by this turn of events. >> is the obama administration are reacting to this? >> i do not think his decision yesterday had anything to do
with that. i think that was a foregone conclusion that had to play out. as we have discussed, i think that president obama is a pretty cautious person especially in this whole round. he is not going to move outside of that box. the big story is that he is an giving so much ground to the military right now. >> let me just say on the whole cheney thing, i am incredibly curious about what is in these memos. i would not hesitate to pre- judge. i do not think is right to be a hero for political independence, but it might end up helping him and the budget ministration -- and the bush administration, and possibly the republican base. it is impossible that something this significant will not benefit them. it is the will of washington. >> it has to, i think in terms of the denial, this is something
that these documents are hung up in the current litigation. once that ends, presumably, they could be let go. >> question? >> it is started to talk on this, but i was just curious for your thoughts on the future of the republican party. there's been talk on who is going to be the new face of the republican party, possibly eri c cantor. do you see 2010 a time when they're going to be able to caption -- capture more seats, or is it going to come -- become a permanent minority for a while? >> having worked for the republican party in the house of representatives, i recall in 1964 when we had the huge landslide with linda mead